The man who created the tiny CNC drawing robot, has come up with the software to make it work.  Jay Shergill, who runs the PlotterBot Web site, has written the program to drive the robot.

"It's all open source, cross-platform," Shergill said.

He is still tweaking and perfecting the program though.

"While I've developed a basic 'toolpath' to draw things, this is not yet a polished work," Shergill wrote on his blog. "There are lots of little hacks I've used to get the robot to work."

It's a simple process to get your robot drawing:

  1. Download the TinyCNC-Gcode.ino Arduino sketch from Github and upload it to your Arduino.
  2. Import or draw a picture in Inkscape.
  3. Export the drawing into Gcode using the MakerBot Unicorn Gcode Plugin by Marty McGuire.
  4. Download the SendingSerial003.pde processing sketch from Github and save it in your sketch folder.
  5. Rename your Gcode file to "file.gcode" and place it in the same folder as the processing sketch
  6. Open the processing sketch and run it.
  7. The robot should leap into action, drawing your design!

Shergill's tiny CNC drawing robot, which was featured in a 3dprinterworld.com article on December 22nd, did not include a z axis, but he has since updated the plans to include one.

It was always his intention to include a z axis, but the project started to bump up against some deadlines, so he temporarily omitted it.

"It takes a little more design time, but not really any more plastic," Shergill said.

The new design includes a true z axis, and not just a pen lift.

"Say you have a pencil, if you want a lighter drawing in one area and a darker drawing in another area, you have to be able to vary the pressure," Shergill said.

While the robot and software aren't likely to create anything that is going to be hanging in the Louvre anytime soon, the whole thing should cost you less than $20.

"It's not going to be a precision device, but if you don't need precision, or if you're just learning, it's an affordable device," Shergill said.